Anwar El Ghazi had a frustrating end to last season and will be determined to hit the ground running for Ajax when the new campaign gets underway.

  • By Michael Bell
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El Ghazi began his career in the youth ranks of his home town club BVV Barendrecht before joining the Feyenoord academy, where he spent two years before moving across the city to Sparta Rotterdam. El Ghazi spent four years with Sparta before being picked up by Ajax in 2013 as an 18-year-old. A year later he made his first team debut in the Johan Cruijff Schaal, replacing Ricardo Kishna in a 1-0 defeat and went on to become a regular during the season. The right winger was a revelation and made 42 appearances during his first campaign, scoring nine goals and adding eight assists, while being named the club’s talent of the year.

Much was expected of El Ghazi heading into last season and he started the campaign on fire with seven goals in the opening six games, before being drafted into the Netherlands squad, earning his first cap in the Euro qualifier against Kazakhstan. However, as the season progressed El Ghazi’s form dipped and he switched between the starting eleven and the bench as fans began to criticise the 21-year-old, who netted only three times after the winter break.

During his hot streak last season, El Ghazi’s name was linked with some of the biggest clubs in Europe including the likes of Liverpool, but his dip in form seems to have deterred any interest and the winger seems set to remain in Amsterdam this season as he bids to regain his form.

Style of play

El Ghazi is a blisteringly quick and direct winger, who has based his game on idol Cristiano Ronaldo. He loves to drive towards the box with the ball, utalising an impressive bag of tricks, while also possessing good crossing abilities and a fierce strike. El Ghazi can also be used as a centre forward and with his impressive height and leap, he is a threat in the air, scoring a number of headers in his career so far.

El Ghazi can be quite selfish in his play, often trying to go it alone rather than using a teammate, and can sometimes be undisciplined in his defensive contribution. However, these two weaknesses can easily be worked on by Peter Bosz

What can we expect from El Ghazi this season

El Ghazi looked like an early favourite for player of the season last year, but his form drifted and the winger now has a lot to prove as the new campaign gets underway. The winger will be looking to hit the ground running and a few good performances and goals will surely bring the confidence back and make him a candidate again for the Netherlands national team that begin their World Cup qualifiers early in the season.

On his day, El Ghazi can be unstoppable, but he needs to add consistency to his game to prove he is ready for the next step in his career.

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